Halloween is almost here — not to mention the countless zombie crawls and related events October brings — which means it’s time to start thinking about a costume. Actually, who am I kidding? It’s long past time to start thinking about a costume, but most readers of this site have it easy: you’re going as a zombie, duh!
That said, as a hardcore fan, you probably want a hardcore costume. That means piecing together lots of little props, carefully aging your clothes into a suitably shitty state and practicing your zombie makeup day in and day out. Elaborate stuff. If, like me, you aren’t well on your way to having your elaborate zombie costume created, it’s probably time to think about going off the rack.
The people of HalloweenCostumes.com contacted me a while back about their off-the-rack zombie costume and asked if I wanted to give it a review. Considering I’ve reviewed everything from zombie films to zombie energy drinks, naturally I said yes. A few days later, I had their stock zombie outfit in my hands. Here’s how it shakes out.
What you get and how it feels
It’s a four-piece deal: shirt, pants, mask/wig and gloves (okay, five pieces if you count each glove as a separate thing). The shirt has a velcro closure and is large enough to fit over regular clothing, and light/thin enough you won’t sweat to death while wearing it. The pants are elastic waisted and of similar weight. Conversely, if you’re taking the kids trick or treating in a colder clime, you’re going to need to throw a flannel shirt over it, or maybe some long johns under it. Either would work.
The gloves are some kind of polyester or nylon — something synthetic, anyway. You could easily hold a drink while wearing them, but pay attention or it might slip out of your grasp. It also seems like the plastic zombie bits could come unglued from the gloves if you wear them much, so maybe slip a tube of superglue in your pocket if this concerns you. The mask and wig combo are attached via a hair net, which actually works well. I was able to wear my glasses inside or out, although they had a tendency to fog up while wearing them inside. As a whole, it seems comfortable enough that I could see going to a party in it, or spending an evening handing out candy or walking the kids around the ‘hood. It’s not leisure wear, but you won’t hate your life if you have to spend a few hours in it, supposing you choose your under/over clothing appropriately and can stand to keep a mask on that long.
So, how does it look? It looks Halloween-y, which is to say, not bad, but not the kind of thing that is going to win you a costume contest. Hey, it’s off the rack, what did you expect? The mask is set into a permanent snarl and the grotesque, lank grey hair suggests you were an aging hippie or hair-metal band dude before you went undead. The gloves have molded plastic backs with suitably fucked-up zombie hands with bones protruding and the like. The chest, arms and legs have similar detail pieces. The chest is particularly nice, as there are some intestines showing near the bottom. No guts, no glory!
The clothing part is pretty generic, just tattered looking gray fabric. It’s “torn” into flaps around the plastic detail pieces. Totally sufficient to scare the kiddies at the door looking for a free snickers, but not going to help you pull off that zombie prom queen thing you were going for. It’s much better than the generic plastic sheets with a rib cage printed on it that we all had as kids, though. Hell, it looks as good as the zombies in about half the Italian zombie movies from the ‘70s, for that matter. One issue is your neck is likely to show between the chest piece and the mask, so plan for that if it bothers you.
Now here’s where you can find some value. As mentioned, you could easily throw a flannel shirt over the top, cut out the appropriate areas to show off the detail pieces, add some boots, suspenders, a stocking cap and an ax and boom, you’re a zombie lumberjack! even just adding a few bucks worth of fake blood to the detail piece areas could liven things up, and if you’re really feeling crafty you could cut the plastic bits out and glue or sew them into your own, more elaborate costume, where they would look pretty good — they are easily the most impressive bits of the whole thing. You could also wear the mask/wig combo and maybe the gloves with your dad’s cast-off denim jacket and torn jeans from his hesher youth and go as the zombified remains of Ratt or something. Or take it the other way — wear the clothes pieces but have your badass makeup artist friend do your face up with latex and what not. You get the idea — it’s easy to mix and match the pieces into something a little more original if you can’t go whole hog with something original but don’t want to settle for completely off the rack.
You could do worse for your $40, I suspect. On the other hand, the picture on the order page is definitely touched up a bit, so don’t expect it to be quite that snappy. I’d definitely suggest planning to add some minor touches to customize it, but if you’re set on being a zombie this year, and lack the time, money, or skill to do a cinema-quality costume, you wouldn’t be ashamed to show up to the block party or chaperone children in this.